God’s Word of Life
John 17:1-26: Many Christians are observing today as Ecumenical Sunday. Today’s reading is a prayer often referred to as Jesus’s “High Priestly Prayer,” and it appears only in John’s Gospel. After Jesus’s final discourse with his disciples, and prior to his betrayal and arrest, he addresses God in prayer. Jesus acknowledges that he has completed the work God sent him to do, and he intercedes on behalf of his disciples and all future believers.
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
1After Jesus finished saying this, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your Son, so that the Son may give glory to you. 2For you gave him authority over all people, so that he might give eternal life to all those you gave him. 3 And eternal life means to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, whom you sent. 4I have shown your glory on earth; I have finished the work you gave me to do. 5Father! Give me glory in your presence now, the same glory I had with you before the world was made.
6“I have made you known to those you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me. They have obeyed your word, 7and now they know that everything you gave me comes from you. 8I gave them the message that you gave me, and they received it; they know that it is true that I came from you, and they believe that you sent me.
9“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those you gave me, for they belong to you. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine; and my glory is shown through them. 11And now I am coming to you; I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world. Holy Father! Keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one just as you and I are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me. I protected them, and not one of them was lost, except the man who was bound to be lost—so that the scripture might come true. 13And now I am coming to you, and I say these things in the world so that they might have my joy in their hearts in all its fullness. 14I gave them your message, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One. 16Just as I do not belong to the world, they do not belong to the world. 17Dedicate them to yourself by means of the truth; your word is truth. 18I sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world. 19And for their sake I dedicate myself to you, in order that they, too, may be truly dedicated to you.
20“I pray not only for them, but also for those who believe in me because of their message. 21I pray that they may all be one. Father! May they be in us, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they be one, so that the world will believe that you sent me. 22I gave them the same glory you gave me, so that they may be one, just as you and I are one: 23I in them and you in me, so that they may be completely one, in order that the world may know that you sent me and that you love them as you love me.
24“Father! You have given them to me, and I want them to be with me where I am, so that they may see my glory, the glory you gave me; for you loved me before the world was made. 25Righteous Father! The world does not know you, but I know you, and these know that you sent me. 26I made you known to them, and I will continue to do so, in order that the love you have for me may be in them, and so that I also may be in them.”
Today’s Key Verse: John 17:20, 21a
“I pray not only for them, but also for those who believe in me because of their message. I pray that they may all be one.”
Because Jesus prays that all who believe be united by their faith in him, the prayer serves as a call to Christian unity. What does Jesus ask of God (verses 1, 5, 11, 15, 17, 20-21)? What does knowing that Jesus prayed for you mean to you?
Dear Jesus, you came to break down walls that divide us. Unite us in heart and mind to follow you and give glory to God. In faith, I pray in your holy name. Amen.
Acts 9:1-25: Saul, a persecutor of the church, becomes an apostle for the Lord.